The University City (Oman University and Science and Technology City) signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of California, Berkeley, last week to establish the first regional UC Berkeley-powered innovation hub outside the United States in the Sultanate. This memorandum was signed by Dr Rawya bint Saud al Busaidiyah, Minister of Higher Education and the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the University City Project, and Carol Christ, the Chancellor of UC Berkeley.

The MoU aims to attract world-class universities and research centres to the Sultanate of Oman, and is aimed at transforming the Sultanate into a regional destination for entrepreneurship and innovation by establishing a cutting-edge training centre focused on artificial intelligence. The vision of the innovation hub is to provide incubation and acceleration opportunities for start-ups and provide upskilling programmes for employees from the public and private sector to equip them with 21st-century skills in areas such as artificial intelligence, critical thinking, intrapreneurship and innovation. It is intended that some of the programmes to be delivered by the centre will grant academic credits that may be counted towards earning academic degrees.

Dr Rawya al Busaidiyah stated that 'the signing of this memorandum of understanding with UC Berkeley will establish a long-term relationship between Oman and UC Berkeley, and the first project stemming from this relationship will be the creation of the new innovation hub. We are certain that this hub will contribute to positioning Oman as a key player in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.' The first step towards executing the memorandum of understanding will be the signing of an implementation agreement for the establishment of the UC Berkeley-powered innovation hub in Oman.

UC Berkeley is one of the world's leading universities, and it is ranked fourth globally according to Shanghai's Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019. UC Berkeley has also been ranked as the best public university in the United States and is home to the top department of economics in the world, as well as the top computer engineering, electronic engineering, and civil engineering (smart cities), environmental engineering, and chemical engineering programmes in the United States.

Source: Ministry of Information Sultanate of Oman